ISLAMABAD: Italy, on Tuesday, said it would support Pakistan for renewal of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus or GSP+ concession.

Addressing the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Deputy Head of Mis­sion at the Italian Embassy Dr Roberto Neccia also suggested Pakistan to send sector-specific trade missions to Italy to explore untapped areas of mutual cooperation.

Dr Neccia added that a tra­de section was being opened in the Italian Embassy that would boost bilateral ties between the two countries. He assured that his embassy would facilitate Pakis­ta­­ni business community to fos­­ter business ties with Italy.

He also proposed the idea of a Pakistan-Italy Chamber of Commerce and Industry to boost trade and strengthen networking and business linkages between private sectors. He said Italy has five million family-owned SMEs and close cooperation would promote bilateral business relations.

Annual trade between Italy and Pakistan stands at 1.5 billion euros, however, the participants noted it could be increased to 5bn to 6bn euros.

Speaking on the occasion, President ICCI Muhammad Shakeel Munir said Italy has advanced in the field of technology and engineering, therefore close cooperation will be beneficial for Pakis­tan to improve its industrial and mining sectors.

He said Pakistan has ample reserves of marble and granite and import of ma­­chinery from Italy can help produce value-added pro­ducts and increase exports.

Mr Munir added the two countries should encourage regular exchange of delegations to explore potential areas of bilateral trade.

The GSP+ enables Pakistan to export goods to the EU market at zero duties for 66pc of tariff lines. However, the status is conditional on the country demonstrating progress on implementing 27 international conventions, according to the EU.

In June, an EU mission arrived in Pakistan to assess the implementation of the conventions. The findings of the mission will be presented to the European Parliament towards the end of 2022.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2022

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